Lamb to the Slaughter: DI Marjory Fleming Book 4 Paperback – 26 Jun 2008
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Praise for Aline Templeton's Marjory Fleming series (:)
'Loved it' (Val McDermid on THE DARKNESS AND THE DEEP)
'A fascinating cast of possible villains is explored in this skilfully plotted and well-paced novel, each vividly described, entirely believable and never sliding into the usual parodies of country folk. But its real strength is DI Marjory Fleming, both tough and vulnerable as she struggles to track down the killer . . . This book is a delight, from its leisurely start to the moving and unexpected finish. Even better, it's the second in a series, so there's more pleasure to come.' (Guardian on THE DARKNESS AND THE DEEP)
'In fictional terms the combination of domesticity and detection is very appealing, especially when it comes with a detailed, vivid portrayal of a complete society . . . an interesting, atmospheric and - I predict - televisual series.' (Literary Review on THE DARKNESS AND THE DEEP)
An unalloyed pleasure - an intelligent, character-driven crime novel. (Andrew Taylor on COLD IN THE EARTH)
[Aline Templeton] has demonstrated that, just when we thought Scotland was saturated with detectives, a strong woman can elbow her way in and find a unique niche. (Scotsman on COLD IN THE EARTH)
'It is always a pleasure to read Aline Templeton, but THE DARKNESS AND THE DEEP must surely be her best book to date. Aline's characters are so beautifully drawn . . .' (J Wallis Martin)
A compelling read. (Margaret Yorke on COLD IN THE EARTH)
'I'm sure it won't be long before I have to write 'the best-selling Aline Templeton'. This is seriously good crime writing.' Sue Baker, Personal Choice, Publishing NewsSee all Product description
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Marjory, or 'big Madge' as she is affectionately referred to by her officers is married to a farmer and is mother of two school-age children, a daughter and rugby-mad son. The family plays a less central role in this novel than in either of the others I have read, but they are there in the background. She is the daughter of a retired, less-elevated officer in the same constabulary. The familiar characters from Kirkluce police station are all present. The lives of this community of characters overlap and you get to know them and those to whom they are connected.
The initial focus is on the murder of one of the pillars of local society. Who killed him and why is a major puzzle for the police who wander down a lot of blind alleys in search for a motive. Meanwhile the townsfolk are divided by a proposal to build a large supermarket in the town. Livelihoods are at stake and a community meeting becomes fractious. There's an incidence of what seems like gorey intimidation in the quiet streets of Kirkluce (thus the title), and more violent deaths.
There are many potential suspects and a few unlikely red herrings thrown into the reckoning too. Not every loose end is neatly tied off by the end of the book. It is a satisfying read.
The books in this series seem to go out of print quite quickly which is not a good sign, and it may also make it difficult to read the series in chronological order. I think this is one series which is probably better read in order. I have not done that and wish I had.
Other recommended reads in the series are:
Dead in the Water Dead in the Water
Cold in the Earth Cold in the Earth
The plot is good, with twists and red herrings that prevents you from easily identifiying the murderer.
In the third of this series - "Lying Dead" - I felt stronger development of the main characters was needed. In this novel, Tam McNee's character is drawn out and this is done well with flaws in his character (ie. jealousy of one of the team) that gives him human characteristics. However the interplay between himself and the main character DI Fleming remains wooden and unconvincing.
Fleming, who is presented as a tough DI, juggling her family and work, seems dependant upon McNee to solve the crime. There are considerable references to her being "tough" but we are told this time and after time and this is needed as it does not come through in actions and dialogue.
There is attempt at humour and this is needed to bring the writing to life.
Overall a satisfying read but lacking in tension and real characters.